Opportunities come through people.  So, who hasn’t been networking since the economy caved in 2008?

However, more and more of those networking have been telling us at Image Marketing Consultants that their efforts haven’t been converting to outcomes such as more sales, media mentions, offers to partner, and attendance at special events.  A major reason for that is that the dynamics of networking have been changing.

To begin with, there’s a glut. The influx of businesspeople eager to network has weighed down social media systems, trade association memberships, and even the lists of volunteers at prestigious organizations.  That means that you now have to do your homework before you invest in outreach.  Figure out how much the group could be helpful to you and what you have to do to be noticed by them as equally useful. Since you have to put more in, you will likely be approaching fewer in number.

Secondly, more professionals are hungry. That could be for more business, more media coverage, and/or more good ideas.  The burden is on you to demonstrate to them what you have to trade to help them get what they need.  Don’t enter until you have something to trade.  There is now only one way in.  That’s from a position of strength.

Third, just about everyone is connection-weary.  Social media networks foist people on us who will drain us if we allow that.  Therefore, caution is the new response to overtures of networking.  High emotional intelligence (EI) dictates what we think before we reach out and when we do we are brief, that is too the point, and offer something the other party needs in return for their attention.  The something has to be the right something.  Therefore, research what could be useful

In short, networking has become all business.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Marketing, Partnering, Special Events, Public Relations, and Social Media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.